Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Desolation of Smaug.

Thoughts upon first viewing:
Well, that was a good movie! When does The Hobbit start?
I had just finished the book the day before and could spot every single deviation from the plot. It was as if P. Jackson went into an old building, ripped out all the wallpaper, furniture, pictures, and fixtures, and replaced them all with new. The foundation of the building/story was still there, but all the decorations/details were changed.
I was a bit disappointed... It was a good movie, but it could have been so much better if they had added some parts from the book into it! There are countless brilliant parts in the book that would have been amazing if they had been put into the movie... Such as Bilbo yelling "attercop!" at the spiders. And Gandalf bringing the Dwarves in by two to meet Beorn (more on that a little later).
Other initial reactions... (these are to individual scenes)...

Balin (in the elf prison): "A deal was our only hope."
Me: "No! Obi-wan is your only hope!"

Gandalf: *is looking at an elven statue just inside the borders of Mirkwood forest*
My dad (whispers to me): "Is that a Sleeping Angel?"

Gandalf: *is in the tomb of the Nine Riders. He nearly falls off a ledge after sliding down a slope. He tries to get down to the tomb*
Me: "Where are the controls for the bridge?" "I think I just blasted them!"

Gandalf (this will be a rough paraphrase): "Radagast, promise to go away!"
Radagast: "Alright."
Me: "Rule no. 1 - the Doctor always lies!"
Radagast: *comes back*
Me: "I knew it!"
Radagast: "Wait, Gandalf! What if it's a trap?"
Me: "Luke, it's a trap!"
Gandalf: "Just go! It's undoubtedly a trap."

I obviously had Star Wars and Doctor Who on my mind that night, for no particular reason.

Thoughts upon second viewing: I enjoyed that much, much more! The additions aren't as horrible as I originally thought, and some of them are even pretty cool... though I still wish that some of the fun parts from the book had been added.
Smaug was absolutely AMAZING. I loved him! He was absolutely brilliant. Benedict Cumberbatch did an amazing job with the voice and also with the motion capture. He was also great as the Necromancer. I think that Smaug and Laketown were tied for my favorite things in the film.
Speaking of Laketown... Wow. It was amazing. It reminded me slightly of City of Ember, except above the ground. Especially with the greedy Master of the city, and his sly helper-dude.
I love the idea of a city floating on the water. Isn't there something like that in C.S. Lewis' space trilogy? When Ransom first lands in Perelandra?
Peter Jackson portrayed Laketown wonderfully, and the people within it. I would have loved to live there in it's glory days - when the lake ran with gold and trade was good.
Anyway, Bard was wonderful. I loved his children too. In the book, he only has the one son (Bain), I believe... but the addition of two daughters were lovely. Especially because they were played by James Nesbitt's (Bofor - my favorite Dwarf) two daughters.
It was cool to see the inside of the Lonely Mountain too. Wow, what a lot of treasure! I thought that was done brilliantly too. Especially the bit where Bilbo is looking for the Arkenstone and she shushes the coins that are moving under his feet. Hee hee.
Another great part was the barrel scene. It's very different from the book. In the book there's no huge battle... but I liked the battle part. It was hilarious when Bombur went rolling all over the place, squishing all the bad guys.
Tauriel. I didn't mind her, and actually liked her. I don't like the reason she was added (just for a female character), but I did like her. She's got great hair, and I think she's got her head in the right place. But let me say this... if Kili dies defending her instead of Thorin... I am going to hunt Peter Jackson down and slap him upside the head with The Hobbit book.

I could mention a thousand small things that were "wrong" with The Hobbit movie... but I'm only going to mention the three biggest things that bothered me.
First: Gandalf. I had a huge problem with Gandalf in this movie. Partly in relation to Bilbo (which I'll talk about now) and partly in relation to Beorn (which I'll talk about in a moment).
In the book, Gandalf makes it known to the Dwarves that this is their quest. He doesn't want anything to do with it. But they want a fourteenth member, so they aren't an unlucky number. Gandalf provides Bilbo and at the first opportunity, leaves them (at the head of Mirkwood forest) to go tend to his own business (like taking care of the Necromancer).
In the movie... well, Gandalf takes much more interest in the quest. The opening scene of the Desolation of Smaug is Gandalf and Thorin talking in the Prancing Pony Inn. Gandalf urges Thorin to go and reclaim the mountain and to unite the Dwarves, but Thorin is wary because he doesn't have the Arkenstone, which is the thing that unites everybody. So Gandalf's like, "You need a burglar." Peter Jackson totally changed Bilbo's reason for being in the quest! In the book, it was more about getting the Dwarves their fourteenth member, and also getting Bilbo out his front door and on an adventure, to change him for the better. In the movie, he's there to steal the Arkenstone.
I didn't really appreciate that deviation... And when Gandalf says "Don't go into that mountain without me" I cringe because it totally goes against his character. In the book, he makes it very apparent that it is the Dwarves quest, not his. He doesn't want to take part in it. What happened to "The incident with the dragon? I was barely involved"?
So that bugged me...
The second thing that bugged me was that four of the Dwarves get left in Laketown while the others continue on to the mountain. What?! Why? Actually, this is how I figured out the above point. I totally missed it at both viewings of the movie... but then I was writing this post and I was trying to make it logical to myself that the Dwarves would need fourteen members, and then leave four behind, when I realized that the "fourteen" plot hadn't even really been relevant in the movie!
That made the leaving of four Dwarves behind a little more bearable... But still, I really don't think that they would leave each other behind. Did they leave Bombur (in the book) when he fell into the river in Mirkwood which made him fall into a deep sleep? No! They carried him with them, even though he's the heaviest of them all.
The third point is the biggest. It annoys me SO much. It has to do with Gandalf and Beorn. In the book, Gandalf is courteous enough to meet Beorn at his house, with only Bilbo in his company, and explain their reasons for being there. He starts telling the tale of their escape from the goblins under the Misty Mountains. Two Dwarves come around the corner every few minutes. The story gets interrupted and Beorn's curiosity is aroused. By the end of the story, all thirteen Dwarves are there and Beorn decides to help them, even though he hates beggars and people in general. He's a bit of a hermit.
In the movie, however... Gandalf bursts into Beorn's living and even locks the skin-changer out of his own house! He doesn't have any respect for Beorn's privacy. He comes in and tells everyone to get comfortable. Don't worry, your host might kill you when he gets home, but for now just get comfortable in his hay!
I think that's very rude and totally against Gandalf's personality. Sure, he's a wizard, the mighty Gandalf the Grey, who is always in the right... but that doesn't give him the right to go bursting into people's houses.
That's my biggest problem with the movie. I did, however, LOVE that they included Beorn's giant bees in the movie. I was watching for them. =)

Okay, one more complaint about the movie... What in the world was up with Thraduil and Legolas' eyes? Can you say creepy? If I met someone who just stared like this all the time...

...I would turn around and walk the other way very quickly!
Let me post something less-scary to leave you with:

Anyway, I really enjoyed the Desolation of Smaug. I thought it was a great movie... I just wish they'd had more of The Hobbit in it. I'm curious to see what's in store for the next movie.

Live long and prosper!


  1. I love your comments through the movie. I don't think I will be able to re-watch it without thinking of them. I thought the same thing about the statues though. "DON'T BLINK, GANDALF!"

    BC as Smaug. He was born to be Smaug. If he was born in Middle Earth he would have been Smaug. (I read some interviews, and he seemed very proud of the fact he got to play a dragon.)
    I loved it when Bilbo is making all the gold stir, and he walks a few steps, then he sits down, like, "You can't see me. I'm not here."

    I hadn't read the book in a year, so I missed all the things they changed. I plan to read it before the next one. I meant to say something about that but I've lost it. I've been editing all morning, so it sapped all of my brilliance.

    1. Mwahaha, I have imprinted your brain for life. If it makes you feel any better, I'm never going to be able to think anything else either. And I'll never be able to not laugh when Thorin is giving a speech and his ancestor's giant nose is behind him.

      I saw an interview where BC said he went to the zoo and watched Komodo Dragons for the part. That's cool. Komodo Dragons are cool.
      Haha yeah. That whole scene was great.

      Yes, read the book's brilliance. =D

  2. I'm slowly catching up on all of the blog posts I've missed (I'm a terrible person and cannot for the life of me not procrastinate). I know we've discussed your thoughts on Desolation of Smaug, but this was still really interesting to read! It's been a long time since I've read The Hobbit, so I didn't notice the deviations nearly as much, though.

    1. You're not a terrible person (ahh! A Tintin-movie quote keeps popping up into my mind! "I'm not a bad person" says the wallet-stealing guy) though I have missed your comments. Welcome back?
      Anyway, I would recommend NOT reading the book and then going to see the movie the day afterward, when you know there are going to be big deviations. That was not a smart plan. xD